Thursday, July 24, 2008

Acting White: CNN Black In America

Over the past few weeks I have gotten plenty of calls from friends and family beckoning me to watch CNN’s Black in America, presented by Soledad O’Brien. I have perused the series web site many times and watched portions of the shows. The show has value, especially to blacks who suffer the main stream media’s (MSM) penchant for ignoring them or showing them almost exclusively at their entertaining worse,
ala’ BET.

So why haven’t I jumped on the bandwagon of this show? Last week I saw Harvard economist, Roland Fryer, talking about paying black kids in NYC for good grades. Nothing new. I have blogged about this and that I think he is a very smart, frustrated, and desperate man flailing his arms in the wind. Last night I listened to the plight of Black women lacking eligible suitors. Again, nothing new. I hear of drop-out rates, HIV/AIDS, crime, drug-abuse. All bad – nothing new. I see interracial couples, no nirvana, still not new.

What I do not hear are solutions, beyond talk that black people really need to get it together and the rest of America needs to help them. But how would a real solution look, if it were to walk in the door? Would anybody recognize it? What would it purport to do to make a real difference in 40 million lives?

Well first off, any solution has to recognize and offset the gap in intelligence between blacks and non-blacks. This subject must be un-tabooed. The universal one standard deviation difference in intelligence makes blacks non-competitive with their socio-economic counterparts of other races, and all that follows this disparity. The way to challenge intelligence difference is with skill-building through more education. Better education is good, but more of it is the only way to beat your competition from a point of deficit. Blacks need more and different schooling than non-blacks, to ever catch up. This is true at every level.

Second, blacks display a gap in work ethic where they labor for themselves the same way their ancestors worked for the white man, poorly. Hustle to a great number of blacks does not mean moving faster, but rather gaming the system to get more for less. Of course this self-investment strategy works against skill building, and competitiveness.

Lastly, it is human nature to value that which is earned and to devalue gifts, no matter the spirit of the giver or recipient. The energy invested in getting someone to give you anything of value, is wasted. Wrestling away what is rightfully yours is another thing. Equal opportunity must be truly equal and not rigged. That which is not given to blacks will be won, and fully appreciated to deliver much more.

This is some of what I would talk about.

James C. Collier


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Anonymous said...

I think that's one of, if not the main issue, plaguing Black America; the search for a universal solution.

We are a culture comprised of millions of individuals with individuals deficiencies and insecurities. Yes, they all stem from some universal problems and plights, but we all have to be singularly willing to make some changes.

Thousands of brothers abandoning families is the results of thousands of poor decisions. Thousands of children not attending college is thousands of examples of disinterest.

We can combat these problems, but it has to be community-based and not so much one national movement.

Jonzee said...

I absolutely agree with you. I watched it...though I wasn't particularly interested in it. Why? Because in my mind I knew what it was going to be. I watched out of hope that it would not be. But alas it was.

It trotted out statistic after statistic and it asked plenty of questions, but it offered no solutions. Dr. Fryer's 'pay to learn' project was the only display of any attempt at a solution to solving the achievement gap. And all I heard in the blogosphere about that was a lot of chatter.

Let's stop only talking about it and try talking about it and being about finding solutions.

Dennis Mangan said...

Perceptive and brave post, Jim, especially because the standard explanation of the IQ gap usually involves some form of racism or test bias.

You said that "blacks need more and different schooling than" whites; I'll go for the "different", so long as we're speaking in generalities of course - individuals needs differ - but not the "more".

But what I think is the crux of the matter is that, somewhat paradoxically, blacks in America had better life outcomes in education, marriage, clean social behaviors, when they were 1)repressed under either de jure or de facto segregation, and 2) unable to get welfare. The ending of the first along with the simultaneous start of the second combined into a disaster. In my opinion, the end of welfare whether in the form of money, housing, food stamps, or any other form, would go a long way.

Unknown said...

I tried to the watch the panel discussions that were aired last Saturday and Sunday, prior to the airing of the Wednesday and Thursday segments on black women and men, respectively. But I just could not stomach listening to people talk about what is wrong with our community. I also am quite tired of older individuals whose work I respect very much talk about something won't work when it hasn't even been tested properly. Let's employ different solutions simultaneously and see what works and what works well. Number one: Let's also start talking and taking personal responsibility for what ails our community.

So...Wise...Sista said...

Moreso than solutions I would have liked to see context. And I dont mean, "This loser missed his kid's party because his dad wasnt around for his parties."

Without context it suggests that there is something inherently wrong with black men, which would make this sort of thing - that also happens across racial and class lines - newsworthy.

That was my issue throughout... Almost any of those stories could have been about a white man, or a Latino woman, or an Asian family. That covers the universal angle. But then why does this matter? Why is this a "black thing?"

But on the surface it was faulty at the start. Being Black is not monolithic, and CNN doesnt have the time, vision, or critical thinking to examine it sufficiently.

Anonymous said...

I only watched a small part of it, because I too knew exactly what to expect. It wasn't a complete waste of time, but I have just one thing, an aside to Eric Michael Dyson: stop using so many big words. We know you're smart, but the people you want to help the most have no idea what you're talking about. I mean, damn.

Deocliciano Okssipin Vieira, aka Ochyming said...

That which is not given to blacks will be won, and fully appreciated to deliver much more.

That works for ANYONE!

Any family then community starts in the SELF!
And truly THERE is no Magic solution.

... How can you FIND any solution without wrestling with the problems?

Anonymous said...






Police cant solve the problem of nigger-ish behavior, but we can.

Anonymous said...

Tough one. Didn't watch it either. But maybe I should have. Not being from over here. I might have learned a bit more. But the IQ thing. Sorry, first time I heard of it. Heard the same thing back in South Africa, but it came down to poverty and not race. Poor whites had the same challenges. Is it race in the US or poverty? Not challenging you - just don't know the studies or facts over here in the US.

Deocliciano Okssipin Vieira, aka Ochyming said...

@demitrius rex

OH! You cannot CHANGE a PERSON!
Have you ever?
Epiphany requires "connectivity", otherwise IT just not experienced!
Reason WHY I come to IGNORE any solution from the Left, not Right as any!

A REAL change comes from INSIDE, at least we can Change the environment, and that MEANS challenging mentalities/attitudes.

This is NOT only relevant for A-Americans, it applies for Africans as well.

plez... said...

similarly, i watched with dismay both episodes of CNN Presents: Black in America. and i was disappointed as well... i have talked to few who enjoyed it.

but i am very curious about what you refer to as the "gap of intelligence between Blacks and non-Blacks." do you infer that such a gap is genetic or induced by the way Black children are raised and socialized? i know that there is a stigma associated with even acknowledging that this gap even exists, but i am more than curious as to what you are talking about and with which context it is applied.

Deocliciano Okssipin Vieira, aka Ochyming said...

I believe that intelligence IS the amount of information ONES gathers along with SKILLS also acquired to manage them.

I think Intelligence HE wrote about is not genetic, I learned to read and write by myself and that does not make me MORE intelligent than anyone!

James C. Collier said...

Plez: Intelligence, while 60% heritable, does not follow race - rather I submit that race follows intelligence by virtue of intelligent pursuit of better geographical living conditions, over thousands of years. Education and skill building leverage innate intelligence, as the action we can take, regardless of our God-given starting point.

uglyblackjohn said...

Jarret makes a good point of the fallacy of a "Universal Solution".

demetrius-rex points out that those who would be helped most by the program probably weren't those watching.

This is as good a place as any. What has worked in your experiences in actually making someones life better?
I'm a londlord and have tried; Low rent, no rent, free tutoring, giving cars and trucks, a public garden any many other "solutions" to get my tenants to strive for more than renting a house in a bad neighborhood.
What are some solutions that have worked for you? (And any other reader/poster.)

Joe Friday said...

What is so hard to figure out?

A good, freedom loving, hard working, family raising children with love, and morals.

Honesty, Integrity, Hard Work, Goals, Golden rule, etc.

Zig Zigler

Stephen Covey

Jesus Christ

Will work for any race of people.

"If you do everything on top of the table, you never have to worry about what is going on underneath the table or behind your back."

A good mother

I am not black, but grew up as a ethnic that was discriminated against in the south. Having said that my observation of many blacks is there tendency to be jealous of others and especially others within there race and especially Africans.


Another observation I have made about other races, be it Italian, Asian, Hispanic, etc. they support and help one another achieve success. I don't see this in the black community as a whole. Does anyone else notice this or know why?

Deocliciano Okssipin Vieira, aka Ochyming said...

The main problem with people of African descent is SELF hatred.

Self-hatred IS reverse racism, when you ARE yr main OBSTACLE.

Look at Japan or South Korea they EMBRACES anything that can be useful, no matter the origen, but "Blacks", the majority of US sticks with what is SUPPOSED to be a Black thing! Shortening OUR horizon.

Michael Fisher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Fisher said...

Collier, define "race", then define "black person", then point us to intelligence studies which correlate with same definitions, and then don't forget to prove your statement that "Intelligence [is]60% [in]heritable], and show that this indeed is the case with these "black persons" whom you scientifically and objectively defined.

If you can't do that put on a fool's cap and sit in a corner.

James C. Collier said...

Mr. Fisher, race is subscribed ethnicity, what you think you are, generally a function of how you were raised. A Black American is a person who's dominant cultural influence, or location of ethnic origin, is Africa or West Africa. This definition equates to the labels used by US blacks over the years, colored, negro, black and AA to describe themselves in test/measurement circumstances, and coincides with the 1997 definition by OMB.
Heritability is the proportion of variation of a trait which can be attributed to genetic factors (your parents not your race) as opposed to environmental ones. The percent of heritability describes the influence from the mean, not percent of the total factor. Many years of research has the % hovering at .6
(see AUTHOR: Lynn, Richard; Hattori, Ken TITLE: The heritability of intelligence in Japan. SOURCE: Behavior Genetics DATE: 1990 Jul Vol 20(4) 545-546) or (AUTHOR: Swan, Gary E.; Carmelli, Dorit; Reed, Terry; Harshfield, Gregory A. et al TITLE: Heritability of cognitive performance in aging twins: The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute twin study. SOURCE: Archives of Neurology DATE: 1990 Mar Vol 47(3) 259-262).
Intelligence is normally distributed among all humans, period. I have never said that it is influenced by race. Quite the contrary, race has followed distinctions in intelligence throughout evolution. Tragically, race is the convenient and errant lens through which we view disparities in intelligence. The Ashkenazi Jews are the lone exception (I know of) as their sphingolipid disorders (Tay sachs) are believed to enhance brain physiology in a balanced polymorphic manner not unlike the relationship between sickle-cell and the malaria parasite. The Aborigines are also candidates as they were isolated an exhibit phenomenal memories (indicating physical brain enhancement), which replaces the void of no written language.
Lastly, Mr. Fisher, your challenges/questions/comments are appreciated, your insults are not. You have used your one warning, I expect all commenter’s to be civil toward others and me./JC

uglyblackjohn said...

ochyming - "Self hatred is reverse racism" That's the only definition that has ever made any sense to me.Blacks being racist to others is still just racism. To call that type of racism reverse-racism would imply superiorority. I think that I'm going to steal your definition.

j.c.collier - Okay, your thesus on intelligence makes sense. The context was misunderstood. I don't fully agree but good points.

Michael Fisher said...

james c. collier...

"your insults are not.

What insult? On my part? Where? The fact that I said that it is foolish if one can not define and prove a momentous accusation of an entire group of people?

Don't think so.

Let's examine what you said:

"Well first off, any solution has to recognize and offset the gap in intelligence between blacks and non-blacks."

In order to make a statement such as this you have to define "black" and "non-black". Since you claim that intelligence is biological by a factor of 60%, you have, logically, have to define "black" and "non-black" biologically.

Your response above leave that entirely in the socio-cultural realm.

It this an intelligent way to tackle this subject?


"The universal one standard deviation difference in intelligence makes blacks non-competitive with their socio-economic counterparts of other races, and all that follows this disparity."

That is an unproven assertion. Unproven alone already by your not having defined "black and "non-black" biologically. And even if you had accomplished this definition, you still would have to prove this statement by pointing to non-biased studies.

"The way to challenge intelligence difference is with skill-building through more education."

Once again, an assertion without a shred of proof. First off, you have not proven that there is an intelligence difference between "black" and "non-black" haven't defined anything to that you can prove in the first place. Second, if intelligence disparity is biological (even by 60%) you have to prove that it can be enhanced without manipulating biology. In other words, can you make a chimp more intelligent by teaching him things, or does the chimp grasp the things you teach because the grasping is within the realm of his intelligence?

"Blacks need more and different schooling than non-blacks, to ever catch up. This is true at every level."

Another assertion without proof. The root of which, again, lies in your failure to define black and non-black in the first place. However, that is only the starting point.

The insulting party, Sir, is you.
You are repeating unscientific white racist propaganda and present is as truth.

It is an insult to my person and any other person classified as "black". More importantly, however, it serves to continue to confuse the actual issues involved which keep "black" people in the conditions they live in, both affluent and poor "black" people.

"Second, blacks display a gap in work ethic where they labor for themselves the same way their ancestors worked for the white man, poorly.

That is, "Black people are lazy".

Again, where is the proof?

Besides, if the slaves were so lazy (which they should have been) why did white slave owners fight a war and die for their retention as laborers?

"Hustle to a great number of blacks does not mean moving faster, but rather gaming the system to get more for less. Of course this self-investment strategy works against skill building, and competitiveness."

Again, where is the proof? Reiterating the racist bull from various white supremacist sites, does not make these utterly unproven assertions real.

Mr. Collier. Regurgitating racist propaganda and making it more palatable by having it come out of the mouth of a person classified as black, is beyond insulting. It is damaging.

"You have used your one warning"

Once again, I have not insulted you. I have said that unless you can prove your assertions, you are being foolish. And, given the gravity of the matter, namely the continuous mistreatment of people classified as "black" that is the mildest conclusion one could arrive at.

However, should you desire to ban me from your site, no problem, we can continue the discussion on the Assault. No one is banned over there.

Thus I'll check in a white whether you posted my comment here. Else I'll post the discussion over at the Assault.

Good day, Sir.

Anonymous said...

This comes down to a clash of two cultures one stuck in the realm of magic and the other having moved into the realm of science; the latter was stuck in the realm of magic for centuries but finally moved out of that realm the former needs to do the same the problem is that 'they' can't do it by being injected into the white culture.

Anonymous said...

I'm not an expert but i believe a big part of the problem is parenting. I'm white but just because I am white doesn't mean everything was given to me on a silver platter. My parents are not rich by any means. All through my childhood my parents made it apparent to me that they wanted me to get a good education and do better in life than they did. And i wish the same for my kid. Nothing in life is free. I've had to work hard for everything I have. and i didn't assume that because my parents never went on vacation meant i would never be able to take my kids on a vacation. I wanted a better life than my parents had so I'm earning myself a better life. If A white kid can do that i don't see why a black kid can't. Just because a parent is lazy doesn't automatically make a kid lazy. every person was given free will by god to make their own decisions. blacks don't need more schools they just need to better utilize the opportunities they are given instead of fearing being seen as uncool because they are the smart kid in class. i was considered a nerd in school but that didn't stop me from wanting to learn and better my life

Unknown said...

Just to add on to the last comment, I think as a nation we have become incredibly impatient and shortsighted. There is no "magic-wand" solution that will instantly close the wage gap, the wealth gap, the education gap, etc...

Any solution will likely take at least one generation to make a significant impact. Unfortunately, this instant gratification society demands everything NOW (!!!!!) which leads to a lot of people making unreasonable accusations and unrealistic demands. For any one person, a rags-to-riches story of social mobility is possible. But for a large group of people, many of whose problems are self-perpetuating or self-inflicted, change takes time.

By the way, to Mr. Fisher, every time you label a scientific study as "white supremacist" based on its results, or cite the "continuous mistreatment" of blacks without providing any evidence, you lose all credibility. Do not criticize others for making unfounded assertions and then do exactly the same thing yourself.